A while back I posted four test models I had painted to represent Portuguese Cacadores in Africa circa late 1860s to the mid 1890s. I’ve now added eight more to make a twelve figure unit. Surprisingly despite Portugal’s long history in Africa, and being a major player in the scramble for Africa in the late 19th century, information, in English at least, is really hard to come by on the Portuguese military forces in Africa. In the end I’ve had to rely heavily on Peter Abbots OOP Foundry book on Colonial African Armies. The internet doesn’t have much info either. If you type in “Cacadores” you get lots of information on the Peninsular War if you type in “Cacadores in Africa” you get lots of pictures of moustachioed, early 1970s Portuguese’s soldiers, with machine guns neither is much help to me.
A few things come up in Abbots’s book that I’ve tried to incorporate into this unit. First the Cacadores battalions in Africa recruited both local Africans, men of mixed race, Portuguese Goans and European Portuguese, and unlike most Europeans in Africa, mixed them all up in the same units. The Cacadores were issued with traditional Brown uniforms, but where also issued with a second white uniform, black leather equipment and kepis or white havelocks. Uniformity in the colonies was very variable though due to supply issues and so men could be wearing both colours of uniform as well as civilian and native clothing. It seems the further away you moved from the coast you went the more irregular the Cacadores looked.
Of course no one makes Portuguese soldiers for Africa (apart from Eureka’s massive three miniature range of 1890s soldiers) So I’ve had to improvise by finding suitable looking miniatures in other ranges like Foundry’s old west Mexicans and Darkest Africa, Copplestone Zanzibari Regulars, Perry Egyptians and Perry War of the Triple Alliance range. For conversions Perry ACW plastic heads and their black soldiers in Kepi head sprues are really helpful.
6 thoughts on “Portuguese Cacadores for Moçambique”
Those look great. Given the disparate ranges- they work really well together.
Outstanding! I love the Conversion work. Simple, very well done, and very effective. They look as if they are at the edge of the Empire.
Nice figures and an unusual subject. Could I ask what colours you used for the uniform?
Hi Alan. thanks for your comment. I use a lot of Revell Aqua colour acrylics. In this case the base coat was called Dark Earth, then I used a wash of Vallejo Sepia wash and then highlights are added using increasing amounts of Revell Aqua Colour Olive Brown to the Dark Earth. I should point out I am in no way certain that this brown is right for Cacadores. My online research threw up lots of paintings of Napoleonic era Cacadores with many different shades of brown uniforms. My main written source merely states brown. I did find a picture of a Cacadore with a shade of brown very similar to my miniatures in the end I plumped for this choice of brown as I thought it would work better with the warm red brown colour I use for African skin.